Downtown Lafayette Restaurant and Bar Association names its first executive director _lowres

Photo submitted by DOWNTOWN LAFAYETTE RESTAURANT AND BAR ASSOCIATION -- The Downtown Lafayette Restaurant and Bar Association on Sept. 2, 2015, announced the appointment of Kari Walker, 32, as the group's first executive director.

A year-old association representing downtown Lafayette’s service industry announced on Wednesday the appointment of its first executive director.

The Downtown Lafayette Restaurant and Bar Association hired Kari Walker, 32, of Lafayette, for the role that marks the first paid staff position for the young organization.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work closely with DLRBA and its initiatives — I believe downtown is a place for everyone,” Walker wrote in a news release announcing her appointment. “With growing options for dining and entertainment cropping up all over Lafayette, it’s important for DLRBA to work together and let the public know downtown is a good place to be for all things social.”

As executive director, Walker will work with the DLRBA’s member businesses to further develop both new and existing initiatives that have included bringing the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market downtown, partnering with Project Front Yard for a weekend trash cleanup and throwing the Uncle Sam’s Jam event on Independence Day.

The group also helped launch a downtown Uber station, which begins its trial run this weekend.

Walker, of New Orleans, moved to Lafayette in 2003 and has since been at the forefront of a number of local initiatives, including the EatLafayette campaign’s inaugural Food, Wine, Beer and Spirits Experience and the launching of Festival International de Louisiane’s Baby Care Station, the release states.

Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a former lifestyle writer for The Independent and ABiz.